Drum

Best Midi Drum Pads

February 1, 2019
Runsi

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Best Midi Drum Pads

In the past, a pad controller was much of a secondary device. Something fitted into your midi keyboard as a bonus and was often seen as a luxury.

That has changed because nowadays you will find one at the heart of most producer’s setup. The pad controllers of the day are no longer used for triggering samples and clips or tapping out beats. They are practice instruments enabling you to compose and record bass lines, chords, and melodies.

Best Rated Midi Drum Pads Reviewed.

Akai Professional MPD218

  • User-friendly, comfortable and easy to use
  • Brings a classic beat making the experience in your production
  • Very flexible due to the three banks for the pads plus the encoder knobs
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Akai Professional MPC Studio Black Music Production Controller with 7+GB

  • Many customers found it easily portable
  • Dynamic and easily flexible without much complication
  • Super sensitive as the product features 49 semi-weighted keys with after touch pressure sensitivity
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M-Audio Code 49 Black | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

  • Most people found the product easily portable
  • Sensitive and responsive
  • Most of the customers liked the quality of the building material
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Alesis VI25 | Advanced 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller

  • High responsiveness to velocity and pressure
  • Integrate easily into music software
  • Easily portable
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Worlde Panda MINI Portable 25 Keys USB MIDI Keyboard

  • Compatible and very easy to integrate
  • Easy to carry around
  • Easy to use
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Shopping for you first MIDI controller can be overwhelming, especially if you are just starting up in production.

We can start with breaking down and narrowing your search for the controller that will perfectly suit your needs.

Here is a list of the products you can check out.

Akai Professional MPD218 | MIDI Drum Pad Controller with Software

Akai Professional MPD218 | MIDI Drum Pad Controller With Software

The Akai Professional MPD218 | MIDI Drum Pad Controller with Software product has everything a producer would need.

This includes; free software titles Ableton Live Lite, Akai Pro MPC Essentials, SONiVOX Big Bang Cinematic, Percussion, and Big Bang Universal Drums, Simple, small, feature-packed pad controller for finger drumming and music production 16 Thick Fat backlit MPC pads (48 assignable pads accessible via three banks). Six control knobs (18 assignable knobs accessible via three banks). USB-powered through a computer, no AC adapter required

Pros:

  • User-friendly, comfortable and easy to use
  • Brings a classic beat making the experience in your production.
  • Very flexible due to the three banks for the pads plus the encoder knobs
  • Durable

Cons:

  • There were also complains that unintentional notes are a common occurrence with these controllers

Akai Professional MPC Studio Black Music Production Controller with 7+GB

Akai Professional MPC Studio Black Music Production Controller With 7+GB

The MPC Studio Black is a unique product from Akai Professional. It takes a combination of MPC pads, MPC software, and iconic workflow, of the MPC Renaissance to provide the user with a fully integrated portable production solution. It is also versatile and can be connected to the computer.

Pros:

  • Many customers found it easily portable
  • Dynamic and easily flexible without much complication
  • Super sensitive as the product features 49 semi-weighted keys with after touch pressure sensitivity.

Cons:

  • There were complains of damaged pads.

M-Audio Code 49 Black | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

M-Audio Code 49 Black | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller

This M-Audio Code 49 Black | 49-Key USB MIDI Keyboard Controller comes with a 49 full-size, velocity-sensitive keys. It also includes an after touch as well as four split zones. Additionally, its layering along with the LCD provides enables this pad to provide real-time parameter feedback.

Pros:

  • Most people found the product easily portable.
  • Sensitive and responsive
  • Most of the customers liked the quality of the building material

Cons:

  • Some music producers complained about the size and complexity of the product.

Alesis VI25 | Advanced 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller (16 Pads / 8 Knobs / 24 Buttons)

Alesis VI25 | Advanced 25-Key USB MIDI Keyboard & Drum Pad Controller

The Alesis VI25 is a special kind of midi controller. It is an advanced kind of controller with USB capability designed to give the user full command of the music software. Among its accessories, it comes with a number of knobs, buttons, and pads that ease the need to have a mouse.

Pros:

  • High responsiveness to velocity and pressure.
  • Integrate easily into music software.
  • Easily portable.
  • Easy to expand with other Alesis drum components

Cons:

  • Some customers complained about unresponsive controller keys
  • Some music producers complained about broken parts (especially the knobs).

Also Read: Best Electronic Drum Sets

Worlde Panda MINI Portable 25 Keys USB MIDI Keyboard MIDI Controller with Drum Pad

Worlde Panda MINI Portable 25 Keys USB MIDI

The Worlde Panda MINI Portable comes with 8 Trigger Pads with velocity and assignable to controllers, with three velocity curve and one constant velocity. 25 keys with velocity assignable to controllers, with three velocity curve and one constant velocity. Four assignable control knobs, four assignable control sliders, four banks for different settings. USB interface, adaptable to USB 2.0(FULL SPEED). Power supplied by USB.

Pros:

  • Compatible and very easy to integrate.
  • Easy to carry around.
  • Easy to use.
  • Real-time control for almost all parameters.
  • Solid build.

Cons:

  • Some music producers were upset that there were no instructions

Also Read: 10 Best Headphones for Electronic Drums

Key Considerations When Buying a Midi Drum Pad

Buying a Midi Drum Pad controller can be an exciting prospect because it gives you a more holistic production experience, however, with the wide variety of them out there, it’s important to know what exactly to outlook for. Here are some of the factors to consider.

  • Size of pads – Make sure the Pads are large enough to make sure you can play easily with your fingers. This will not only enhance efficiency but also give you a great experience making sure you are comfortable while at it.
  • Responsiveness of the pads – This goes without saying that the pads need to be responsive and playable enough. You don’t want pads that are not responsive enough around you; this will not only affect the quality of your work but also waste a lot of your time.
  • Ease of programming the pads – It is essential to see if you can program the pads to different layouts or different sounds on your DAW. This is especially important as everyone has their unique playing style when it comes to percussion MIDI controllers. Some prefer to use it when playing fast drum lines while some prefer to use it when triggering sound samples they have sliced up in their DAW.
  • Budget – While looking out there for a MIDI drum pad you will be required to pay more for a recognized brand. Go for high quality and reliable brand that will save on your budget in the long run.
  • The number of keys – If you want to purchase a MIDI Keyboard controller, you will need to ask yourself how many keys you will need on the device. The options are 25-key, 49-key, 61-key, and 88-Key. Do you need a full-sized stage piano controller, or can you get by with a smaller, more portable 25-key? Smaller MIDI keyboards allow you to be more portable as you can chuck the small keyboard controller in your backpack with you. Also, make sure to check the sizes of the keys. I noted for instance that the Novation MIDI keyboard controllers have smaller, narrower keys. But if you’re used to the full standard piano key size, then check for one that suits your needs.

Also Read: Best Drum Machines

Would you prefer DAW Dedicated Controllers?

Some developers are creating controllers with enhanced integration much with their applications, like Ableton’s Push and Native Instruments’ Machine and Komplete keyboards. Let’s say you’re using Ableton for instance; you might consider using the Push in your music productions because of this tight integration as it might improve your workflow and quality of work.

Also Read: Best Drum Machines

Final thoughts

By now, you should have an amazing understanding of the functionalities that modern MIDI drum pads can grant to you as a producer. There’s no doubt that they’ll continue to expand and grow far beyond their traditional use, as there seems to be a technological trend breathing new life into the devices with every release.

A solid MIDI drum pad can bring new creativity and motivation to producers, especially those who are more rhythm-oriented than musically-inclined.

If you don’t want to be locked into specific DAW compatibility, we’d recommend giving the Akai MPD 226 a serious look. It will work with – and has configurations for – just about every major DAW. You can get this thing set up and working pretty quickly

Runsi

Ruby holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and is an pet lover and adoring owner of two cats, Ruby’s love for music has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in musical instruments. When she's not writing she likes spending time with her spend and their 2 daughter Haley and Jennifer.
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